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Sep 18, 2019

Citrus Industry to be Affected by Devastating Drought

In July, News Five reported on the constant decline in production in the citrus industry. Several factors such as a citrus disease and less investment influenced the decline and tonight drought is added to the list of factors. A drought which has been hovering over Belize for many weeks has caused financial and agricultural instability to parts of the country, especially in the north where farmers have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in produce. Data collected by the National Meteorological Service of Belize shows that the long-term drought is occurring over portions of the Orange Walk and Corozal districts. The drought, however, has extended to the south and the citrus industry is about to feel the pinch. Chief Administration Manager of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited says that in a few months the effects will be felt.

 

Nikita Usher

Nikita Usher, Chief Administration Manager, CPBL

“Citrus is faced with a disease, as you all know. We have a crop that was just about the same as last year. The drought as I have been advised is putting a toll on production and it will toll. We will not see the effects of that until about another three months because what the drought, is that the drought does not allow the fruit to enlarge. So the amount of fruits that you put in a bag to make what you call a box of fruits is going to be more fruits now to make a bag as oppose to what is used to be before. Typically, it is ninety pounds that make a bag of fruit and that bag of fruit typically has been around one hundred and fifty fruits. Today because of the size of the fruit because of the drought is not allowing that fruit to grow- that fruit will be close to two hundred and twenty five to make a bag of fruit. So automatically your production will show a decline.”

 

Reporter

“What does that mean for prices?”

 

Nikita Usher

“Prices on the world market have not been the very best. This has been our lowest year in some years now but CPBL because of it market strategy has been able to keep its prices above what the market prices are right now. We spread our fruit products into a number of markets so when market is down we are able to ship it somewhere else and get a higher price there.”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow is hosting a press conference on Thursday to address the devastating drought.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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